We frequently judge ourselves by our good intentions, even when we don’t actually get around to DOING anything. At the same time we may judge others by our fearful interpretation of their actions, even though their actions sometimes have down sides they may not have intended.
That dual standard may lead to unwarranted mistrust that can undermine progress and create unnecessary stress.
Adopting the philosophy of “Most Respectful Interpretation” (MRI) is a delightful solution. MRI says we assume the best of others. MRI suggests that you consider only the best, the kindest, the most helpful interpretation of every communication and respond solely to that version.
There may be other ways of interpreting a communication, but what is the point? Choose the higher road. Your day will be better, your life more smooth.
Try it, it works!
“No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
NOTE: During the Cuban Missile Crisis with Russia in the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy used a version of most respectful interpretation. The White House had received a conciliatory message on the Moscow-Washington hot line and shortly thereafter, a bellicose follow-up message. Deciding that Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev sent the second message to appease his more militant generals, Kennedy chose to ignore it and respond only to the friendly first message. With that decision, the road to reconciliation continued and there was never any mention of the harsher second message.